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Guide To Pre-marital Agreements

Guide To Pre-marital Agreements

Pre-marital agreements

We will assist you in the drafting of a pre-marital agreement if you wish to attempt to regulate your affairs before you marry or live with a partner.


What is a pre-marital agreement?

It is an agreement reached between two people who intend to marry and who wish to regulate and organise their legal position if they subsequently divorce.


Is a pre-marital agreement binding?

The short answer is that in this country pre-marital agreements are not binding. This contrasts with Europe where in some countries pre-marital agreements are binding (e.g. Sweden and France).

In this country a pre-marital agreement is a factor which will be taken into account in assessing the division of income and assets on divorce.


Why have a pre-marital agreement?

  1. If one, or both, parties have tried and failed to maintain a previous relationship and they wish to protect their own financial position.
  2. To provide slightly more certainty in the unhappy event that the marriage comes to an end.
  3. To reduce the acrimony and cost which may arise from the breakdown of the marriage.


What can go in a pre-marital agreement?

The main features of a pre-marital agreement are terms which provide for the division of property, bank accounts, insurance policies, shares or other assets owned solely or jointly by the parties. The pre-marital agreement can also provide for the payment of maintenance by one party to the other, it can fix the level of maintenance and the length of time which maintenance is paid. It can determine not only ownership of property but also occupation of a home and its duration.


How is a pre-marital agreement written?

It is crucial to a pre-marital agreement that both parties are independently represented by separate solicitors. It is also important that neither party is put under any unreasonable pressure to agree to the terms of the pre-marital agreement. Additionally there should be a complete disclosure to each other of the parties financial circumstances.

If these three elements are not present in a pre-marital agreement then it will have no binding effect and will not even be treated as "an Agreement".


What does it cost?

This depends on the complexity of the document. We will be delighted to give you a clear guide on price should you need any further help.